Oil-rich Gabon is forging ahead with its drive to address its 200 000 unit-housing deficit by, among others, signing an agreement with a South African construction company to build 5 000 low-cost houses and 5 000 middle class units in Angondjé, north of the capital Libreville, and Nkok, a north-western area outside of the capital.
Online publication Le Nouveau Gabon reported on Friday that Gabon housing minister Bruno Ben Moubamba met in Libreville with representatives of Ciel Resources on February 1 to finalise the agreement, and iron out the remaining details so that construction work can start right away.
No date has been set for the launch of the works, and the cost of the project has also not been disclosed.
However, the South African company is believed to have undertaken the project’s feasibility study with its own funds, and will also import all its construction equipment to the Central African nation.
The low cost houses will be built with terracotta, while the others will be made of durable material, Le Nouveau Gabon said.
Gabon’s housing deficit is concentrated on middle- and low-income earners, but there is a growing oversupply in the high-end segment, the Oxford Business Group said, adding that despite empty units, high-end property remains expensive, especially in Libreville.
Housing deficit in Libreville and in second-largest city Port-Gentil stands at 50 000 and 170 000, respectively, according to the Centre for Affordable Housing in Africa (CAHF)’s 2016 Africa Housing Finance Yearbook .
Gabon faces a housing affordability problem, as the majority of poor local communities cannot afford to finance the construction of their houses via existing financial channels due to the high cost of construction materials, Johannesburg-based CAHF said.
Despite their country producing more than 300 000 barrels of crude oil per day, most people in Gabon still live below the poverty line without jobs, adequate housing and sanitation, safe drinking water, electricity, clinics and schools.
Analysts claim that state corruption and economic mismanagement are deeply embedded in the ranks of the long ruling Parti Démocratique Gabonais (PDG).
Photo: Social housing units in Angondje, north of Gabon capital Libreville. Credit: Gabon d’Abord